6 October 1997

The Lawyer

  • ... but privatisation helps

    6-Oct-1997

    The most enduring legacy of Thatcherism and the Thatcher decade could well be privatisation. At the beginning of 1992 it was estimated that around $25bn of public assets went private, and there was cautious optimism that this was at least one growth area to sustain lawyers through the recession.The CCT provisions, which were put forward in a consultation document, were another of the few positive moves for lawyers, who were also eyeing up Eastern Europe. In the year of the ...

  • A term of change

    6-Oct-1997

    While the Queen's Speech did not feature an explicit reference to the voluntary sector, it did contain points of interest and importance to charities.Highlighted as priorities for the Government were education, employment, housing, public health, international development and human rights - areas where charities play a vital role.Changes to the National Lottery were promised, with a fund to be created from the mid-week draw to support education and health ...

  • Aircraft battle in Ipswich

    6-Oct-1997

    In the midst of a fierce battle to keep Ipswich Airport open, the local council is taking a Colchester man to the High Court accusing him of trespass. It is suing Barry Liversage as owner of a Piper light aircraft it claims it asked him to remove from a hangar, but which, it says, he has continued to keep there in breach of moves to end the licence.

  • Ashursts makes college deal

    6-Oct-1997

    ASHURST Morris Crisp has struck a deal with the College of Law for all future Ashurst recruits to enroll with it.Under the deal, which is the first partnership of its type, all 45 of Ashursts' annual recruits will attend the College of Law Legal Practice Course (LPC) and Professional Skills Course.The firm is also sponsoring a new chair at the college. It will be filled by ...

  • Bar-wide elections proposed

    6-Oct-1997

    PLANS to open up the election of the Bar Council chair to all barristers and provide a minimum salary for pupils and young tenants are among a raft of motions before this Saturday's Bar Council AGM.The Bar Council leadership has indicated it will oppose the call for Bar-wide elections for the chair and other senior posts, and there is scepticism about a minimum salary.But there is support for a third motion, tabled by Lincoln Crawford, Bar Race Relations ...

  • Berlin airport win

    6-Oct-1997

    US firm Wilmer Cutler & Pickering has been appointed by the Berlin Airport Project Company to structure the privatisation of three Berlin airports, and subsequent closure of two of them. The present shareholders, the German government and the states of Brandenburg and Berlin, plan to use private finance for the intended expansion in 2002 of Schonefeld Airport, which it is estimated, will cost in the region of $4.9bn. Schonefeld will be the only airport serving the city of Berlin after ...

  • Break for litigious leaseholders

    6-Oct-1997

    A recent House of Lords majority ruling, on whether the tenant of commercial property in central London validly terminated its tenancy early by use of a break clause, has removed some of the rigidity of the interpretation of such clauses.The tenant, Mannai Investment Co, took out a 10-year lease beginning on 13 January 1992 on premises in Jermyn Street. It included a term entitling Mannai to get out after three years provided it gave six months' ...

  • Conflicting allegiances

    6-Oct-1997

    The results of the IFF Research Poll support what the British Legal Association has been saying for nearly 33 years: one organisation cannot adequately both rule and represent its members. This is particularly the case where an unpaid collection of worthies wrestle with the problems arising out of administering the lives of more than 80,000 professionals.It is axiomatic that a large number of decisions have to be left in the hands of paid staff, many of whom have ...

  • Counting on MDPs

    6-Oct-1997

    The new Government has surprised its critics as much as its supporters with the energy with which it has struck out on a programme of broad reform. Liberalising the legal profession may not be an issue that leaps into newspaper headlines, but if the Government attacks it with the verve it has shown in other areas, the legal services in England and Wales are set for a vigorous shake-up.Key targets will almost certainly be what Labour activists see as anti-competitive practices, ...

  • Courting the camera

    6-Oct-1997

    Leading criminal silk Ronald Thwaites QC (right) will appear next week on BBC2 defending a teenage boy accused of stabbing a businessman to death in a mock televised murder trial.Trial by Jury aims to make the trial as realistic as possible and will follow the deliberations of the jury, which is made up of ordinary people.Joanna Greenberg QC is prosecutor and the judge is His Honour Gerald Butler QC, who has just retired as presiding judge at Southwark Crown ...

  • Directorships elude heads of in-house legal departments

    6-Oct-1997

    Not enough in-house legal heads have seats on the boards of the companies they represent, despite the large budgets they control, according to a survey conducted by Eversheds.The report, Law in Business, based on a poll of 104 heads of in-house legal departments, questions whether career expectations of lawyers are being met by industry.One key finding shows that while more than ...

  • Eversheds election

    6-Oct-1997

    Eversheds' national head of franchising, Martin Mendelsohn, has been elected an honorary member of the Franchise Association of South Africa (FASA), following a recent trip to the country.

  • Far better a lender than a solicitor be

    6-Oct-1997

    Lenders use their strong bargaining power against individual firms of solicitors by refusing to pay directly for legal services, but instead insisting that the solicitor collects fees from the purchaser client.This stands in stark contrast with the way lenders settle their bills with surveyors, which receive direct payment.So why is there a difference? The answer lies in the fact that surveyors have decent representative bodies and would refuse to work ...

  • Far East countries head salary league

    6-Oct-1997

    Lawyers are twice as well paid in Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan as they are in the UK, according to a survey released by the consulting arm of legal headhunter Longbridge International.According to the 1997 Salary Research for Lawyers report, compiled from Longbridge's own database of placements, a two-year-qualified solicitor at a leading UK firm can expect to earn £35,000 a year, compared to more than £70,000 at an equivalent firm in Japan, and between ...

  • Firms face £20,000 bill to join property network

    6-Oct-1997

    FIRMS will be asked to invest up to £20,000 if they want to join a national network of solicitors' property centres.The prospects of a national network of centres getting off the ground received a boost last week when two rival property centre groups - Solicitors Property Centres (SPC) Limited, headed by Conquest Legal Marketing's Richard Berenson, and the Solicitor Property Centres Network, headed by Law Society council member Anthony Bogan - announced a ...

  • Flotations

    6-Oct-1997

    Theodore Goddard and the London office of Weil Gotshal & Manges acted as UK and US counsel respectively for Signet Group on the £510m liquidation of existing shares and simultaneous dual £100m listing of new ordinary shares on both Nasdaq and the London Stock Exchange. Freshfields advised Morgan Grenfell, the underwriters to the new issue.

  • Former LAB employee offers legal aid advice

    6-Oct-1997

    A FORMER Legal Aid Board (LAB) manager has set himself up as a legal aid franchise consultant to coach firms which want to compete for franchises.After 10 years working as area manager of Manchester's LAB, Geoff Thompson's first test will be to secure a legal aid franchise for Manchester firm Abney Garsden McDonald.Thompson, who left the LAB in April, has joined the firm on a part-time basis and will also help to handle a major child abuse case in the ...

  • Girling fights for rights of UK lawyers Stateside

    6-Oct-1997

    The President of the Law Society, Tony Girling, will attempt to end a long-running dispute over requalification rights for English lawyers in New York, when he visits the US city to attend the International Bar Association's 50th anniversary celebrations.Girling intends to take advantage of the visit this week to open a "direct line of negotiations" with the New York State Bar over the obstructions UK lawyers face when attempting to requalify there.The Law ...

  • Glass ceiling yet to crack

    6-Oct-1997

    Ever since the first female solicitor qualified back in 1922, women have been steadily making their mark on the legal profession. In 1995, for the first time ever, more women than men were admitted to the Solicitors Roll - and just over 50 per cent of entrants have been female since.At the Bar, Ivy Williams of Inner Temple became the first female barrister in 1922 and the first women took silk in 1949. Since then more and more women have been called to the bar. There were ...

  • Going global

    6-Oct-1997

    Not a week seems to pass these days without one of the many US firms in London announcing its latest acquisition of English qualified lawyers. They mean business, pitching for work in lucrative areas such as mergers and acquisitions, and project finance. Some hirings have been top notch and generous salary offers are commonplace.As one observer notes: "The US profession has taken a leading role in developing international practice." But US firms are not alone in their global ...

  • Guarding against fraudsters

    6-Oct-1997

    Lawyers are often asked to advise people who are forming a charity. Once the charity is registered, they become its trustees and, because they have advised on the charity's legal responsibilities, they are often asked to explain how to prevent fraud. So what advice should they give?The first point to make is that the trustees will never be able to stop every fraud. If they tried to do so, they would tie up so much of the charity's resources there would be little ...

  • Herbert Smith in EU

    6-Oct-1997

    The Brussels office of Herbert Smith has received instructions to act for the European Commission on a major competition case before the European Court of First Instance. The firm will defend an action that was brought by Finnish supermarket giant Kesko Oy. Its proposed acquisition of its closest rival, Tuko Oy, was blocked under EU merger regulations. The company is seeking to challenge and overturn the commission's ruling. The case is being handled by partner Stephen Kinsella ...

  • Hong Kong Law Society to preserve rule of law

    6-Oct-1997

    THE NEW president of the Law Society of Hong Kong has pledged to ensure the rule of law in the colony is preserved following its imminent hand over to China on 1 July.Anthony Chow, who was elected to head the society last month, has admitted he will be leading the profession into "unchartered waters" following the handover, but has expressed his confidence that the legal system will not be undermined.Chow's election followed the surprise decision of his ...

  • Human rights sound bites without any teeth

    6-Oct-1997

    Elizabeth Davidson visits Liberty's Law and Order Conference to find the Government in fine voice on law reform, but lacking substance. MOST civil rights lawyers will agree that it will not be difficult for Labour to improve on the Tory's civil liberties record.But there were already some rumblings of discontent from the legal community at Liberty's Law and Order conference in London on 31 May.Labour's minister of state for criminal policy, ...

  • IBA report slams state of Kenyan judiciary

    6-Oct-1997

    The International Bar Association last week released a damning report on the Kenyan legal system's continuing problems and the lack of independence enjoyed by the country's judiciary.The 43-page report was launched in London by Sir William Goodhart QC, who led a mission to Kenya last November on behalf of the IBA's Human Rights Institute. The trip was prompted by a request from the Law Society of Kenya.The report specifically examined the conviction ...

  • In brief: Blanks takes legal director role at Cadbury's

    6-Oct-1997

    Former Coca-Cola & Schweppes Beverages legal director and company secretary Hester Blanks has been appointed legal director for the Cadbury Schweppes group. Blanks will be based in Watford and will be responsible for the Africa, India, Middle East and Europe divisions.

  • In brief: Dibbs lands staff for its aviation legal team

    6-Oct-1997

    Dibb Lupton Alsop has poached four partners and two solicitors from other law firms to create the UK's third largest aviation law team. The new team will act as an autonomous unit within Dibb Lupton Alsop's insurance group. Pictured above is the new team, from left to right: former Beaumont & Son partner Nigel Wright, former Frere Cholmley Bischoff solicitor Dejan Ninkovic, and partner Graham Tyler, ex-Jarvis & Bannister partner Tim Scorer, and former Frere Cholmley Bischoff ...

  • In brief: Law Society aims to restrict conveyancing

    6-Oct-1997

    Conveyancing solicitors should be restricted in acting for both building societies and borrowers, the Law Society will be proposing later this month. The Law Society Council last week resolved to consult the profession on amending its regulations so that joint representation of borrower and lender will only be permitted where the instructions for the lender are confined to ensuring good title, or are approved by the council. Vice-president Phillip Sycamore said the proportion of claims ...

  • In brief: Law Society calls for LAB boycott to stay

    6-Oct-1997

    Solicitors should continue boycotting the Legal Aid Board's green form block contract pilot project, even though the board has made compromises, the Law Society Council resolved last week. Derek Sands, chair of the courts and legal services committee, told the society's council last Thursday that, in meetings the society conducted with law firms in three regions, the majority thought they would incur extra expense if they undertook the pilot project - particularly because ...

  • In brief: Scott warns of delay in instigating Woolf

    6-Oct-1997

    Implementation of reforms outlined in the Woolf report may miss the October 1998 deadline, according to Sir Richard Scott, vice-chancellor and head of civil justice. Speaking alongside Lord Woolf at last Friday's Woolf Conference, organised by the College of Law, Scott said: "If we miss the deadline, we will try to miss it by as little as possible." He was particularly worried about the knowledge of IT that judges will have to acquire to use the new case management systems being ...

  • In brief: The Lawyer launches on to the Internet

    6-Oct-1997

    This week The Lawyer launches on the Internet. The move has been timed to coincide with two other major landmarks for The Lawyer: it has become the official sponsor of the premier UK legal office exhibition Solex and the newspaper is celebrating its tenth anniversary. The internet site, which has the address www.the-lawyer.co.uk, goes on-line on Tuesday, when browsers on the World Wide Web will be able to access the latest news and a database of all articles since August 1994. Also, ...

  • In the beginning...

    6-Oct-1997

    In 1987, The Lawyer cost 90 pence. News of its launch was broken in the Financial Times, and its front page declared that advertising for solicitors had been given the green light.The relaxing of the rules, which allowed solicitors to advertise on television, send out mailshots and sponsor events, was seen as signalling a new era - and one which would usher in a more aggressive approach by solicitors to their competitors.It also signalled a greater willingness ...

  • Indonesian paper mill funding first

    6-Oct-1997

    Project financing in Asia took a step forward this month as one US and three English law firms celebrated the completion after six years of the first agreement to build and operate an Asian pulp mill using limited recourse loans.The massive $1.2bn wood pulp mill in southern Sumatra, Indonesia, is being funded by commercial banks and export credit agencies from four countries, which will only get their money back if the mill makes a profit.This type of funding ...

  • IT is only just beginning...

    6-Oct-1997

    Ten years ago, barely a lawyer in the land had heard of the Internet, and the World Wide Web had not yet been invented.Today, tens of thousands of lawyers across the world use the Internet for email, while a growing number of firms are setting out their stalls on the Web in the belief that it will be central to the delivery of legal services in years to come.Many of us who speculated in the mid-1980s about what lay ahead foresaw a general ...

  • Joined at the hip

    6-Oct-1997

    The 160-partner mega-merger... to form the UK's eighth largest law firm. This opening statement is spliced together from two front page lead stories in The Lawyer.The first appeared on 18 February 1987 and describes the merger of City firms Clifford Turner and Coward Chance to form Clifford Chance. The second appeared 10 years later on 7 January 1997 and refers to the merger of ...

  • Juniors jump ship to solicitors' firms

    6-Oct-1997

    TWO experienced juniors have left their chambers to join solicitors' firms, each citing a desire to get closer to clients as a key reason for the move.Libel practitioner David Parsons, formerly of specialist media set 5 Raymond Buildings, and family expert Sara Richards, who practised from Nottingham set King Charles House, have embarked on new careers in law firms.Parsons, whose clients have included Elton John and Jason Donovan, ...

  • Law Society rejects move for women's seat on the council

    6-Oct-1997

    The Law Society council voted last week not to give women their own seat on the council, despite the backing of the president and the Association of Women Solicitors.The proposal, designed specifically to increase the representation of women solicitors, was defeated by 33 to 31, with the six women councillors present split equally for and against.Although president Tony Girling and deputy vice president Phillip Sycamore have expressed support for the proposal, ...

  • Leading senior clerk quits chambers

    6-Oct-1997

    Chris Fogarty reportsChancery set 9 Old Square chambers has parted company with senior clerk Martin Poulter. Head of chambers Robert Reid QC confirmed that Poulter left the chambers last month, but would not comment on the reason for his departure."That's not a matter for discussion, it's between us and Martin Poulter," stated Reid.It is understood, however, that a difference of opinion over policy between ...

  • Legal Aid Board battles on over police station call rates

    6-Oct-1997

    A SUSSEX solicitor has won his appeal against the Legal Aid Board's decision to downgrade a police station call to a lower rate. But the LAB and legal aid practitioners are still locked in battle over the issue.Last week, Eastbourne solicitor Rodney Warren, who threatened to take the LAB to judicial review after allegations that it was introducing "cuts through the back door", had his appeal granted by the Brighton area committee.He said he hoped the LAB ...

  • Let all the troubles begin

    6-Oct-1997

    This year promised to be a watershed in the history of the legal profession - three Government Green Papers appeared: on the rights of audience in the higher courts, fusion of the two branches of the profession, MDPs, the eligibility of solicitors for the High Court bench and the future of the probate monopoly.Other papers examined the possibility of contingency fees and permitting building societies and banks to do conveyancing. In other words, this is when all the troubles ...

  • Litigation Disciplinary Tribunals 10/06/97

    6-Oct-1997

    Robert Ian Corteen, 42, admitted 1985, practising at material time in partnership of Lewis & Dick of Ewell and Sutton, struck off and ordered to pay £980 costs. Allegations substantiated he was convicted at Snaresbrook Crown Court in July 1996 of 10 counts of procuring execution of a valuable security by deception, and was jailed for 12 months. Tribunal was told that Corteen was involved in mortgage fraud masterminded by one of his co-defendants. Fraud ...

  • Litigation Personal Injury 10/06/97

    6-Oct-1997

    McCreesh v Courtaulds - 24 April 1997Incident: Injury at workAppeal issue: Contributory negligenceAppeal contentions: Plaintiff's appeal from order of Rix J Queen's Bench Division, Oldham District Registry, 6 March 1996, entering judgment for defendant in respect of injuries suffered as result of saw blade allegedly left unguarded. As the plaintiff attempted to cut wood his left hand came into contact with revolving blade ...

  • Litigation Recent Decisions 10/06/97

    6-Oct-1997

    Covenant in lease to keep supermarket openCooperative Insurance Society Ltd (Respondents) v Argyll Stores (Holdings) Ltd (Appellants) (1997)Court: HL (Lords Browne-Wilkinson, Slynn, Hoffmann, Hope and Clyde) 21/5/97Summary: A decree of specific performance will not issue to enforce a keep-open covenant in a lease.

  • Litigation Writs 10/0697

    6-Oct-1997

    A Basingstoke man who claims that he suffered injuries as a result of medical negligence is suing a group of doctors for compensation. Craig Schofield has issued a writ against Dr John Williams and his partners, all of Basingstoke. He is also suing North and Mid Hampshire Health Authority and North Hampshire Hospitals NHS Trust, of Harness House, North Hampshire Hospital, Basingstoke. The writ does not specify the nature of the alleged negligence.Writ ...

  • Litigators to form pensions lobby group

    6-Oct-1997

    Pensions litigators are set to create a forum to lobby for specialist pensions judges and on issues such as the jurisdiction of the pensions ombudsman.The growth of high-profile pensions litigation cases, such as that of National Power and National Gridon, on which the High Court was due to rule this week, sparked pensions partners Andrew Carruthers, of Rowe & Maw, and Giles Orton, of Eversheds' ...

  • Lord Irvine pushes for rights-based legal aid

    6-Oct-1997

    The Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine, has said the new Labour review of legal aid should give "the fullest possible weight" to providing legal aid as a matter of right, rather than making it dependent on a fixed budget.The pledge is contained in the terms of reference for the inquiry, which will also look at civil justice reform and is to be headed by BZW chairman and Barclays Bank Deputy Chairman Sir Peter Middleton.Middleton is also asked to consider whether Woolf's ...

  • Management fight to spice up the courts

    6-Oct-1997

    The Spice Girls' songwriters, Richard Stannard and Matthew Rowbottom, who co-wrote and produced the number one hit Wannabe, are facing an action in the High Court.They are being sued by a solicitor who says he gave up his job to manage them.In his writ, Ian Clifford, of London NW6, claims that Stannard and Rowbottom agreed to pay him 20 per cent of their earnings when he agreed to quit his job to devote his time to managing ...

  • Managing to be competitive

    6-Oct-1997

    In the years since 1987 there has been a marked change of attitude in the legal profession towards management - at least firms now acknowledge that they have a need for it.Having said that, the independent mindedness of lawyers still presents an impediment to the adoption of more rational management structures. If management was improved it might suggest a need for increased delegation and for the provision of the means for effective decision-taking, performance monitoring ...

  • Mergers and an MDP

    6-Oct-1997

    The cliched green shoots of recovery seemed to have sprouted with yet more mergers: Manches & Co with Asshetons, Frere Cholmeley with Bischoff & Co, and Hammond Suddards with Ellison Westhorp. Theodore Goddard was also involved in merger discussions with Eversheds, but TG voted for termination of the talks.Continuing the legal aid saga were the introduction of the Legal Aid Board's franchising ...

  • Middle East meeting

    6-Oct-1997

    Lawyers from Israeli and Palestinian firms will be among the delegates at a business law conference in Jerusalem later this month on doing business in the Middle East. The conference, which runs from 18 to 22 June, has been organised by the International Association of Young Lawyers. Organiser Clare Grayston, head of corporate finance at Lewis Silkin, described it as "groundbreaking".

  • Minimum salary stays despite opposition

    6-Oct-1997

    The mandatory minimum salary for trainee solicitors - £10,850 or £12,150 in central London - is to be maintained despite the objections of 70 per cent of the respondents to a consultation paper sent out to the profession.The Law Society council voted by a large majority last Thursday to maintain the minimum salary and the waiver for firms in special circumstances, pending a fundamental review of the training contract designed to look at how training standards ...

  • New Labour, new lawyer

    6-Oct-1997

    With two barristers ensconced at 10 Downing Street, admittedly one non-practising, and a record number of lawyers in Parliament, it seems the legal profession is in for a radical era.Lawyers are in a bullish mood. Research shows lawyers have advised on more privatisations around the world during the past year than ever before. And there is obviously an increase in business, which is funding the recent salary hikes for the leading City firms.This hike has been ...

  • New York firm raids London practices

    6-Oct-1997

    New York firm Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft has lured a number of lawyers from leading firms in a bid to set up a derivatives practice in London.The firm, in its first foray outside the US, has hired Freshfields partner James Starkey and Wilde Sapte partners Russell Jacobs and John Walker for the new practice.The firm is also said to be in negotiations with two Clifford Chance ...

  • Nicholson Graham & Jones pulls cider marketing man

    6-Oct-1997

    City firm Nicholson Graham & Jones has recruited Andy Nash, the man credited with building Taunton Cider's brands, such as Dry Blackthorn, as non-executive director to advise it on marketing strategy.Nash was commercial director at Taunton Cider and part of the successful launch of its premium brands in the early 1990s.When Matthew Clark took over the company at the end of 1995, Nash became managing director of the newly-formed Matthew Clark Taunton, but ...

  • Onwards, upwards...

    6-Oct-1997

    In 10 years' time lawyers are likely to have a raft of new legislation to work with, including a Bill of Rights and a Freedom of Information Act.But what other changes will have taken place? Will barristers still be wearing wigs? Perhaps the courts will be overrun by solicitor advocates, or maybe cases will be heard by virtual judges.The Lawyer asked a selection of legal figures to make their predictions for change over the next decade and found the profession ...

  • Outrage over health sector PFI legal fees

    6-Oct-1997

    Health minister Alan Milburn has launched an attack on the "exorbitant" fees of lawyers and financial advisers to NHS trusts on Private Finance Initiative projects.In a speech last week, he revealed that NHS trusts had so far paid £30m in fees to legal and financial advisers on PFI schemes, yet not a single major contract had been secured.He highlighted two NHS trusts - Guys and St Thomas's and Royal Berkshire and Battle - which had paid advisers a ...

  • Partner reshuffle at Freshfields intellectual property practice

    6-Oct-1997

    Freshfields' three-partner intellectual property practice is undergoing a shake-up with the exit of partner Paul Taylor and the imminent arrival of partner Avril Martindale from Bristows Cooke Carpmael.Freshfields' managing partner Ian Terry said: "Paul wants to pursue his speciality IP practice in a different environment to a major City corporate practice. A lot of our IP practice ...

  • Penningtons lawyer rejects partnership to set up firm

    6-Oct-1997

    Costas Andrea, a senior Penningtons lawyer, has left the firm to set up his own niche practice, passing up a partnership offer in the process.He takes another assistant, a secretary and "300 cases" with him to form the firm Andrea & Co, which is based in Old Woking in Surrey.Andrea had been with Penningtons for nine years, building up his own specialist self-contained holiday ...

  • Poor record on monthly reconciliation of accounts

    6-Oct-1997

    A SURVEY of the results of Law Society interventions into law firms has shown that too many practices are not paying enough attention to the monthly reconciliation of their accounts.The survey has been compiled by Hertfordshire accountancy firm Geo Little Sebire & Co, which has set up a scheme to allow firms to share information from reports from the Law Society monitoring unit.The firm's first information bulletin, based on more than 50 monitoring unit ...

  • Presidential address

    6-Oct-1997

    Your coverage of the Law Society's January omnibus survey interpreted the results in a very negative light.For example, contrary to your editorial comment, there was a remarkable consensus among respondents that the main purposes of the society are to set and maintain standards and regulate solicitors, and to represent the profession. The survey indicated high levels of support for separate sections for members with special interests - the society's ...

  • Progress through struggle

    6-Oct-1997

    Back in 1987 it was not possible to give any accurate statistics as to the numbers of African, Caribbean and Asian solicitors and barristers, owing to the fact there was no ethnic monitoring in either branch of the profession. It is known, however, that minority lawyers tended to choose to become barristers rather than solicitors, partly to make access to home jurisdictions possible, and also because British nationality was a requirement if you were to obtain a practising certificate ...

  • Property

    6-Oct-1997

    Mishcon de Reya is advising Rialto Homes and Frogmore Estates on their joint purchase and planned £150m development of two acres of Paddington Basin in West London from Chelsfield, represented by Ashursts, and a company controlled by developer Godfrey Bradman, represented by Berwin Leighton.

  • Property

    6-Oct-1997

    Fladgate Fielder acted for Regal Hotel Group in its £64.5m purchase of 13 hotels from Whitbread, represented by Field Fisher Waterhouse. Freshfields advised Salomon Brothers, which gave financing, and Gouldens acted for Guinness Mahon, which underwrote an equity placing for Regal ...

  • Property

    6-Oct-1997

    Denton Hall advised the Equitable Life Assurance Society on selling a 15-year lease on 238,000sqft of its speculative Hemel distribution centre to Gillette UK. Gillette was advised by Simmons & Simmons. Leeds firm McGuinness Finch advised Gazeley Properties on providing £26m funding to Equitable for the scheme.

  • Putting trust in authority

    6-Oct-1997

    Since the mid-1980s, social and financial problems have been adversely affecting the functions and services offered by local councils.At worst, they have resorted to stringent cuts that produce a barrage of complaints from taxpayers and corresponding bad press. At best, these organisations have sought alternative routes for financing various public services and amenities.One of the most important and exciting solutions to come to light of late is the possibility ...

  • Recession bites...

    6-Oct-1997

    "Too often lawyers operate as a herd, running in a state of panic from one fashionable priority to another," is how one editorial started in January 1991, but this was not a blanket criticism - a number of moves were praised. For example, in a move looking forward to the European market opening in 1992, the Bar Council relaxed its rules to ease the entry of lawyers from other EC jurisdictions. But not all the news in 1991 was positive.In the wider commercial world, the recession ...

  • Rise and rise of the 'm' word

    6-Oct-1997

    Marketing used to be a dirty word to many lawyers, mentioned in the same breath as "undignified" or "inappropriate". And when regulations on advertising by law firms were relaxed in 1984, solicitors were reluctant to use the opportunity to sell themselves.A letter to The Lawyer in August 1988 read: "I sincerely hope The Law Society will not listen to the recent calls for solicitors to advertise their charges. The profession has already suffered numerous indignities and had ...

  • Robert Wegenek on the protection of TV programme formats.

    6-Oct-1997

    The DTI recently announced that it will not seek to extend copyright protection to television programme formats. This was welcomed by the advertising industry trade press.The effect of the DTI statement is to retain the status quo which, legally, is not particularly favourable to advertisers.Neither parody nor satire is a defence to an action for copyright infringement or libel. The fact that a film, book, television programme or personality ...

  • Shakes, battles and polls

    6-Oct-1997

    The year opened with Durnford Ford going to trial to defend himself against Serious Fraud Office (SFO) allegations of stealing £8.5m from his clients, which included the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association. Eight equity partners were later declared bankrupt.With the moves by the US firms to expand, Lovell White Durrant fought back for the City and poached two leading insurance lawyers from Sidley & Austin in Chicago to create a Chicago office for Lovells.

  • Shoosmiths' seeks out new estate agency links

    6-Oct-1997

    Shoosmiths & Harrison has opened its long-planned conveyancing link-up with Hambros Countrywide estate agents - and is already in talks with other estate agents and lenders about forming new associations.Last week, the Northampton firm opened a new department, Property Direct, which will take referrals from the neighbouring Hambros' in-house Midlands conveyancing centre.Partner ...

  • SIF shortfall now nearly £500m

    6-Oct-1997

    In a desperate bid to limit the damage of a hole of almost £500m in the Solicitors Indemnity Fund (SIF), the Law Society is launching a task force to examine how it can ease the pain for law firms faced with massive hikes in contributions.In a report that shocked the the Law Society's Council and solicitors last week, the SIF admitted a shortfall thought to be £248m in January actually stands at £454.5m.But an SIF proposal to up contributions ...

  • Simmons all set to hit Tokyo

    6-Oct-1997

    Simmons & Simmons plans to open a branch in Tokyo, having successfully pulled together its Shanghai and Hong Kong offices into an integrated China practice earlier this year.Huen Wong, managing partner of the new China practice, said the firm was looking to build a regional presence with the Tokyo base and another South East Asian office.He said: "Pooling together the Hong Kong and Shanghai offices has allowed us to better use our resources. We want to build ...

  • Smoking battle hots up

    6-Oct-1997

    The House of Lords has given leave for the smokers' champion, Peter Boddington, to bring before them a challenge to his conviction for smoking on a non-smoking train.The question is whether someone such as Boddington is entitled to raise as a defence to a criminal charge a contention that a bylaw or an administrative decision, made pursuant to powers conferred by it, is outside the law. If the Lords decide that it is, they will then be asked ...

  • Solex sees rash of new products on market>

    6-Oct-1997

    Liz Davidson reportsA RICH selection of technology companies from the UK and overseas used this year's Solicitors and Legal Office Exhibition (Solex) as a launch-pad for products.Geoffrey Howe, managing partner of Clifford Chance, opened the three-day show at London's Barbican centre, with the statement that information technology was now a necessity ...

  • The Bar's defining decade

    6-Oct-1997

    Although 1987 still has the ring of recent history, in the 10 years since, barristers have seen an unprecedented growth in their profession, and what will surely prove to be an enduring reappraisal of the role of the Bar.The rate of growth of the profession has been remarkable. In October 1987 there were 5,642 barristers in independent practice. By October 1996 there were 8,935. Year by year pessimistic observers have predicted that further growth ...

  • The Lawyer Inquiry: Guy Harvey

    6-Oct-1997

    Guy Harvey was born in Hertfordshire in 1951. He was articled in Leeds, qualified in 1976 and is currently a senior litigation partner with Dickinson Dees in Newcastle. What was your first job?Night porter in a home for the traumatically disabled.What was your first ever salary as a lawyer?£700 a ...

  • The Lawyer launches Internet web site

    6-Oct-1997

    THIS week, to coincide with the newspaper's tenth anniversary, The Lawyer makes its debut on the Internet with the launch of its web site.The site complements the weekly issues of The Lawyer newspaper and contains all the week's news and features, updated every Tuesday morning, as well as all the announcements and recruitment advertisements that regularly appear in The Lawyer.There are also a number of extra features on the site ...

  • The legal aid agenda

    6-Oct-1997

    The year opened with the news of yet another merger - that of Withers and Crossman Block. Meanwhile, the Legal Aid Bill came under attack from all sides.A survey of legal aid firms found that 40 per cent had either given up or were seriously considering giving up criminal legal aid work because the payments were inadequate; 27 per cent said the same for matrimonial work.Over 80 ...

  • The Mackay years

    6-Oct-1997

    After the resignation of Lord Havers as Lord Chancellor in 1987, the surprise appointment of Lord Mackay of Clashfern as his replacement was considered rather daring, and parts of the English system criticised the choice of a man who, as a Scottish advocate, was an outsider.The story goes that one of the reasons for his appointment by Margaret Thatcher was that she once sought his advice, he refused to give any because it was a Sunday - and as a result he rose in her estimation.

  • The road to recovery

    6-Oct-1997

    While practices found 1993 the bleakest year of the decade, with a 20 per cent fall in profits and typical profit per partner dropping from 1991's £100,000 to £72,000, 1994 looked more promising.Commercial property lawyers were in demand, and although a number of City firms, including Titmuss Sainer Dechert and Denton Hall, cut staff, salary increases in general - with a five-year ...

  • The year of discontent

    6-Oct-1997

    Things were starting to look up in 1996. UK law firms reportedly made more money this year than ever before thanks to a strong economy. But despite the fact that assistant solicitors' salaries increased by 5 to 10 per cent and top firms appointed more partners than usual, the profession was rife with discontent.A survey carried out by The Lawyer revealed that lawyers were disillusioned and highly stressed, and that many regretted entering the profession.Spirits ...

  • Training revamp could place Chambers under microscope

    6-Oct-1997

    CHAMBERS may be subjected to regular inspection visits in order to check up on how they are treating their pupils as part of an overhaul of the pupillage system in a bid to boost its flagging credibility.A working party of The Bar Council and the Inns of Courts has released a consultation document which outlines a series of options for the monitoring of the pupillages.The group's most radical proposal would see a team of inspectors visit sets that undertake ...

  • Transatlantic links

    6-Oct-1997

    Peterborough-based Greenwoods Solicitors has formed an association with US firm Crivello Carlson Mentkowski Steeves (CCMS), based in Milwaukee. Greenwoods has a number of clients in the Milwaukee area, and the two firms worked together on a series of transactions during the past 10 years. Greenwoods managing partner Shelagh Smith commented: "We believe that this sort of international association will ...

  • Two swap Hong Kong for UK

    6-Oct-1997

    Two chambers in London have recruited Hong Kong barristers, but the Bar is not expecting an influx of lawyers as the handover to China approaches.Former 4 Stone Buildings pupil John Scott has rejoined the set after 10 years in the colony, while ex-Hong Kong Attorney General's office barrister Penelope Rector has joined 2 Paper Buildings.Rector said barristers working for the Government had no security of tenure and Chinese barristers were gaining ...

  • Under pressure...

    6-Oct-1997

    "I wouldn't be surprised if there were a fully fledged merger between a US and a UK law firm in the next couple of years. I don't know of any, but I would not be surprised," said Joseph Flom, head of US firm Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom - a feisty comment, but we are still waiting for it to happen.The closest thing to a transatlantic move came when ...

  • Untangling the Web for the profession

    6-Oct-1997

    Since The Lawyer's launch a decade ago, one of the most frequently recurring themes has been information technology.Getting to grips with IT developments has filled the profession in the intervening years with a mixture of fear and trepidation. Relationships between suppliers and lawyers have not always been easy, with many costly lessons being learned along the way.However, most practitioners have now succumbed to the IT revolution and, ...

  • When is charity not a charity?

    6-Oct-1997

    Is it time to change our ideas about what is and what is not a charity? More importantly, should changes in the perceptions, goals and techniques of charities be backed by changes to the law?Probably the most famous example of an institution that is a charity in law, but not in public opinion, is Eton College. It is dedicated to excellence in education, which is a general good, and, therefore, it constitutes a charity.However, with fees set at £13,000 a ...

  • When the PIA flexes its muscles

    6-Oct-1997

    Just as there are signs that the Personal Investment Authority (PIA) is about to establish itself as a regulator with teeth, once again there is a proposal for a shake-up in the regulation of the financial services industry.The PIA will undoubtedly continue with its enforcement of the Pensions Review by bringing charges against pension providers and independent financial advisors for regulatory breaches or unreasonable delays during the course of the review.Disciplinary ...

  • Where are they now?

    6-Oct-1997

    Of the 269 applicants for silk in 1987, 53 were successful, and only two were women: Barbara Dohmann and Hilary Heilbron. Most junior was Richard Field, who was called to the Bar in 1977. Other silks of that year included John Hendy, who represented the National Union of Mineworkers in the civil cases during the miners' strike, and commented at the time: "I am an honorary member of the NUM now, and probably their first member to take silk."